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NOW NOW. QUANDO NASCE UN’OPERA D’ARTE

A project by Casa Tesori
Curated by Davide Dall’Ombra, Luca Fiore, Giuseppe Frangi and Francesca Radaelli
Meeting of Rimini
18-24 August 2019

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AND A THIRD: ART IN THE MAKING
Davide Dall’Ombra

This exhibition completes a trio of exhibition projects that Casa Testori has curated for the Meeting of Rimini, with the aim of bringing the public closer to Contemporary Art. The goal has been to share the beauty and the necessity of today’s artistic expression with the widest range of people of all ages and origins. Compared with art of the past, Contemporary Art probably calls for a greater openness on the part of the visitor and requires honest access keys, which the curator has the duty to provide. There is no doubt that our first two exhibitions proved able to offer the public important opportunities to get to know their own present, often due to an unexpected empathy of desire. 
2015 saw the opening of an event that related the work of a number of living masters, probably the most celebrated, discussed and highly paid on the international scene today. The exhibition ranged from Damien Hirst’s shark to Anish Kapoor’s waxes and Marina Abramovic performance at the MoMA of New York. The exhibition, Tenere vivo il fuoco. Sorprese dell’arte contemporanea [Keeping the Fires Burning: Surprises of Contemporary Art], disconcerted visitors with video images designed to document unexpected languages. The lymph of the exhibition was provided by a wide-ranging and detailed introductory video, for which Giacomo Poretti generously provided the speaking voice. Poretti, as part of the Aldo, Giacomo and Giovanni trio, appeared in the celebrated Garpez scene in Tre uomini e una gamba [Three Men and a Leg] (1997), shown at the beginning of the video. There was no fixed itinerary and there were no instructions for use. It was up to the visitor to choose what and how much to see, of the things narrated, but guides and curators were available, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, to answer any questions about the artists, works and processes of Contemporary Art. There was a deluge of questions, incessant, interested, obstinate, curious and often with evident personal implications. Something had happened and a curtain had clearly been torn. 
Two years later, with a new introductory video, a new choice of today’s artists measured themselves against a precise subject, one that in some ways spelt out the theme chosen for that year’s Meeting: Quello che tu erediti dai tuoi padri, riguadagnatelo, per possederlo [What you inherit from your father must first be earned before it’s yours]. The relationship between Contemporary Art and the masters of the past, a cardinal theme in every age, was presented, not by simple narration but, at long last, through real works. Il passaggio di Enea. Artisti di oggi alle prese con il passato [Aeneas Passes On. Artists of today one-to-one with the past] (2017), staged a probably unrepeatable collection of painting, sculpture, installations, video and photography. After viewing Julia Krahn’s work, dedicated to her relationship with her own mother, the visitor was called to take stock of two 20th century masters in close dialogue with their “fathers”, a Last Supper by Andy Warhol, derived from Leonardo’s Cenacolo, and Michelangelo Antonioni’s last film, dedicated to Michelangelo’s Moses. The imposing hand bearing a lantern by Gianni Dessì lent a monumental air to the stairway at the center of the piazza. The six rooms around it hosted the vast cycle dedicated to I Promessi Sposi cancellati [Manzoni’s The Betrothed Erased] by Emilio Isgrò, the Madonna at body temperature by Alberto Garutti, a cycle of seashores by Giovanni Frangi, the Via Crucis realized by Adrian Paci, the cycle dedicated to Wim Wenders and 11 September loaned by Villa Panza and the imposing procession of souls on wax paper, drawn by Andrea Mastrovito. The impression that the wager had been won derived not given merely from the numbers, which matched and exceeded the 22,000 in a week registered at the first exhibition. Visitors grasped perfectly the extraordinary potential of art to illuminate a fundamental theme such as our relationship with tradition and with those who generated it historically and socially, as in the most intimate family relationships. Thirty years on from the glorious period in which the Meeting of Rimini, thanks to Giuseppe Panza di Biumo and Giovanni Testori, had succeeded in displaying works by artists of the calibre of Richard Long, Luigi Ghirri, Graham Sutherland, Francis Bacon, Henry Moore, James Turrell, Robert Irwin, Carl Andre and Renato Guttuso, Contemporary Art had returned to the Rimini Trade Fair in all its greatness and “demanded” to stay. 
When the time came to plan a third appointment at the Meeting of Rimini, the ice had been broken and the relationship between contemporary and earlier art had been experimented without mediation. It seemed no longer feasible, therefore, to follow the same path with a simple exchange of horses, presenting a new selection of works and artists, maybe around a new theme. A step was needed that would be worthy of the experimental approach to knowledge that an event such as this permits and, in a certain sense, demands. Thus was born the idea of allowing the public a final plunge into Contemporary Art, exploiting its primary feature, that of being born NOW. Visitors to the 2019 exhibition, NOW NOW. Quando nasce un’opera d’arte[Art in the Making], can see seven artists at work, intent on creating a work characterized by a final composition, at the end of the week, and by intermediate stages, visible day by day. This is not a simple Studio Visit – a habitual practice among curators in which artists are seen presenting their works, where they created them, to interested critics. Rather, the common visitor is allowed to enter the creative process. The aim is to focus attention on the generative components of the work, on the elements and energies the artists bring into play, themselves and their inspiration. But it also aims to focus on the materials used to plan and create the work, on the time factor and on the way the artists manage their daily life. Awareness of this process is not only a way of obliging spectators to go beyond prejudices of the “I did this too” type. It also enables them to grasp the exciting and dramatic aspects underlying a work of art, to participate in the creative moment, getting to know the circumstances, the research and the daily events – from frustrations to enthusiasms – that occur to an artist at work. 
Seven young artists, widely differing in their techniques and languages, have transferred their studios to the Trade Fair, appearing as if naked before visitors, ready to receive their stares, but also their questions and comments. So far as we know, this is an experiment that has never been tried before, at least with such numbers and performance intensity. It goes beyond the concept of shared art, overcoming the risk of voyeurism, or the Big Brother effect through a component of interaction that will certainly not be lacking, not only during moments of dialogue, but in the daily conversations to which a specific area is dedicated. 
Thus Elena Canavese has mounted her photographic set from daily objects, because small domestic items are able to speak to us of universal places and images: from the universe in a kitchen to the kitchen in the universe. Danilo Sciorilli places his accent on the sense of existence in relation to its inevitable end. He narrates it with his typical tools of video animation and with the unprecedented transformation of certain serious games of our childhood. Alberto Gianfreda presents his sculptures in ceramic that has been fragmented and recomposed to become mutable and in movement. He now adds the metaphorical struggle of the animal kingdom to the human history that has always animated his work. It is Elisa Muliere who brings painting back into the exhibition. Her informal and poetic energy is intent on transposing notes of obsessive contemporary music into colours and forms. Alberto Montorfano makes use of graphite drawing to set down a continual superimposition of faces, taken from direct photo shots. This record of the flow of “people” at the Rimini Meeting raises questions over multiple image and identity. bn+ brinanovara (aka Giorgio Brina and Simone Novara) relate, using foam rubber maps, textile and white Carrara marble set out day by day behind a couple of melting glass idols, the plausible story of an iceberg reaching the latitude of Rimini. It demonstrates to the spectator the difficulty of achieving simplicity. Video language could not be omitted from the exhibition. It is provided by Stefano Cozzi, who has created an artistic short film of the event itself, documenting it in a video that will grow day by day, from the arrival of the artists to the conclusion of their works.
As two years ago, the exhibition could not be without a “father” of these young artists at work and the visitors called to take part in the choral-style performance. Placed at the center of the exhibition and introduced by a video relating its genesis, is La Chimera, probably the greatest painting ever made by the artist Mario Schifano (1934-1998). It is present here because it is an extraordinary example of a work created before the public, a gathering of more than six thousand people, during that unrepeatable night of 1985. […] 
The theme of the creative process, of “Art in the Making”, naturally brings to mind an infinite number of problems and considerations concerning artistic inspiration, or the relationship between this inspiration and the creative act itself, and reality as lived or perceived by the artist. What is at stake is the individual’s need to perform an artistic act, to use expressive means and communicative contexts to convey “the idea”. But this introduction to an exhibition that does not claim to be exemplificative, let alone exhaustive, is hardly the place in which to address a matter so essential, yet elusive, as the artistic event. It will be sufficient to concentrate on this NOW NOW of art as life: before, during and after the exhibition. 

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Posted on: 11 November 2021, by : Alessandro Ulleri